Pilot found dead after plane crashes in southwestern Jefferson County

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DENVER – The male pilot of an airplane that crashed in the mountains about 7 miles west of Deckers Saturday evening was found dead at the crash site Sunday afternoon, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Mike Taplin, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, said the Park County Sheriff’s Office handed the search over to Jefferson County around 8:15 p.m. after a beacon alert was sent out by the airplane.

“This was likely not a mistake,” Taplin said, adding that beacon alerts usually mean a plane has gone down or crashed in some fashion.

Civil Air Patrol, the sheriff’s office, and other law enforcement agencies were on the ground and in the air Sunday morning searching for the wreckage in rough terrain near the Wigwam Creek Trail northwest of Cheesman Lake and west of Sugarloaf Peak.

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A Civil Air Patrol plane searches for a crashed plane west of Deckers in Jefferson County on Sunday, April 4, 2021.

Video from Denver7’s helicopter showed Civil Air Patrol flying in the area and search crews on the ground in heavily-wooded and steep terrain.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said just before 11:30 a.m. Sunday the plane had been located.

“We are working on getting troops on the ground to check on the pilot and the wreck site,” the sheriff’s office said in a tweet.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said just before 1 p.m. that the investigation was being turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

The FAA said in a statement that the plane was a single-engine Magnus Fusion 212 and that only the pilot was on board the plane when it crashed. The FAA did not immediately release the tail number of the plane, but video from the scene confirmed the tail number. FAA records show the plane is registered to Magnus Aircraft Incorporated.

“The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates. Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents,” the agency said in a statement.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said just after 3 p.m. that the pilot was found dead at the scene of the crash.

“Our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends,” the sheriff’s office wrote.

Video shot by Denver7’s helicopter Sunday afternoon showed the plane had crashed on a mountainside in steep terrain among trees and crews working at the scene.

The NTSB, which is investigating the crash, said Sunday afternoon that the plane departed Colorado Air & Space Port in Watkins on Saturday. The agency said an air safety investigator is scheduled to arrive at the scene of the crash on Monday morning.

Denver7 has a crew in Jefferson County working on this story. This is a developing news story and will be updated.